The Coyote

Being a high school student, I had a pretty regular schedule. Aside from on the weekends, of course. During the week it was: wake up, shower, eat breakfast, go to school, ditch a couple classes, finish up 8th period, go to lacrosse practice, head over to my buddy Jeremy Walker’s place (because his parents were rarely ever home), smoke a copious amount of cannabis, and walk my happy a*s home to eat dinner and not do my homework.

It was a mundane routine, but it was my routine, and I was comfortable with it. Nothing much changed in my day to day life aside from what video game I chose to play on any given day. Monotony grows to be boring.

It got to the point in my life where I felt like a robot just going through the pre-programmed motions of the day. I began to crave excitement. I was a high school kid. Those are supposed to be the best years of your life, right? I thought so, but I had no idea what herb I had to pull off the metaphorical rack to spice my life up. The monotony continued.

I began to seek new, exciting friends, being that Jeremy was really the only other person that I talked to, let alone hung out with. I rarely even ever exchanged words with the other girls on the lacrosse team. I wasn’t there for friends, I was there because I loved the sport. Plus they were all kind of stuck up b*****s, which didn’t really help with the whole “me not wanting to be friends with them” thing.

My name is Madison Schaefer, and this is my story.

I lived in the suburbs, which had its ups and downs. The thing with the most ups and downs being that everybody f***ing knows each other. There was always a bountiful bouquet of bodacious gossip spreading about the town. Or should I say, “bouquets.” With all the “flowers” around this place, it was beginning to resemble the funeral of a renowned statesman.

There was word going ‘round about a new neighbor that had moved in on the next block over just a few months back. At first, his reclusiveness didn’t raise any eyebrows. He was the new guy, just trying to settle in. Then, as more and more people started noticing him doing things like checking his mail, walking his dog, and driving to work, though he never took a moment to introduce himself. He wouldn’t answer the door for his neighbors, almost as if he knew why it was that they had set foot upon his doorstep.

Cakes and pies and casseroles became regular tribute to the nameless recluse. Not that he ever ate them. They would sit and spoil on his stoop until the night time, the the nocturnal scavenging creatures would come and eat them. I had seen it many a time coming home at all hours of the night on a saturday evening or morning, but none of the other neighbors seemed to notice. They just come back and pick up their confectionery dishes from the stoop the next morning.

My neighbor and weed dealer, Dan, was a pretty sizable dude, weighing in at probably about 250 pounds, who was hungry for customers since the uprise of newly legal recreational cannabis. He thought he should go make friends with the new guy in an attempt to get some more business. He thought it to be a good idea to simply expand his group of friends even if the new, nameless guy didn’t want to buy weed. He thought nobody could turn down a homemade blueberry pie. He thought it was worth a shot. He really needed to stop thinking.

While out on a stroll one bright and sunny afternoon, I spotted Dan heading up towards Mr. No Name’s door. I stoned-ly chuckled to myself trying to figure out why his high a*s thought this visit would be different than any of the other neighbors. I watched him walk up with a grin on his face, carrying a pie. I watched him knock on the door. I watched him wait for a few seconds, I watched the door open followed by an outstretched hand protruding from the door appear to motion for Dan to come inside, and I watched Dan walk in. I thought to myself, “Hmmm, what do ya know,” and I carried on with my day.

Because of all of the small scavenging creatures that had been coming around to feast upon the fruits of neighborly kindness, there had also been a growth in the predator population around my neighborhood. It was not uncommon to be walking along the sidewalk in the morning and see a half eaten rabbit or something of that nature. It was kind of gross and kind of hilarious. Mostly hilarious because the adults thought it was absolutely grotesque.

Now it was Wednesday and I was stressed about school and out of weed. It was definitely time to give Dan a call. I called him up but didn’t get an answer.  I texted him but didn’t get an answer. I got annoyed and hit up my next guy from across town. I picked up an 8th of some primo mango kush from him and walked my happy a*s home. That was some quality weed, man. Sticky and supple and mango-y. I was satisfied and happy and forgot about Dan blowing me off.

Saturday night came and I was walking home from Jeremy’s house. We had a LAN party with some of the other neighbors kids, none of whom I particularly enjoyed, but I guess it was exciting. That’s what I was looking for, right? Anyway, I’m walking home, stoned as can be, and I see a dog sniffing around in people’s front yard. I’d made friends with most of the neighbor dogs while out on my weekend walks, so I felt pretty safe in the given situation. As I approach, I realize that this doesn’t look like any of the neighborhood dogs. This dog was sickly looking and mangy. It was a coyote.

I tensed up a little bit at the realization of what this creature was. Although I knew that for the most part, coyotes didn’t attack unless they were in packs, so that put my mind at ease a bit. With a creep in my step, I continued down the sidewalk. Step. Look. Step, step. Look. The coyote was just minding his own business.

I felt a certain warmth envelope my backside whilst making my way down the paved path, and turned to see a Crown Victoria heading my way, fog lights switched on even though the night was as clear as day. When I turn my head back around, I see the coyote sitting there, not 6 feet in front of me, looking me up and down. No teeth showing, no foaming at the mouth, no nothing. Just an outstretched tongue and a wagging tail. I take a step forward. It stands up and takes a step back. I take another step forward. It takes another step back. Still no teeth. Still no foam.

The coyote turns and starts to walk away. I start to walk across the street to the other side. It stops its journey in the other direction and begins to walk towards me. I stop. It looks at me, tail wagging still, and once again begins its route in the other direction. I, for some reason, have the overwhelming feeling that it wants me to follow it. I do.

It takes me a few blocks over and into a backyard, using a series of alleyways and grass trails. I know this backyard. It belongs to the recluse. There is a shed in the back left corner of the fenced off yard. A very nice shed. It appears as if it would be insulated, and based off the electrical box and faint light illuminating from within the shed, i would assume that it has power running to it. Who has electricity in their shed. Maybe that’s where he charges his power tools.

I begin to walk away, wondering why the stupid coyote even brought me here to begin with. The coyote steps in front of me as of to say “No, please, don’t go.” I couldn’t argue. I began walking towards the shed. There was a crack between the door and the frame that I was able to peek through. I couldn’t see much, but it smelled like metal and blueberries in there.

I’m not entirely sure why, but next thing I knew, I was opening the door. As the door swung open, I saw nothing but red. Red everywhere. On the walls, the ceiling, the floor, the shelves; everywhere. Sitting on the work bench, I see a pie sitting there with one slice taken out of it. A plate next to it, crumbs and a fork atop. This is why Dan wasn’t answering me. Dan was gone. My throat tightened. I turned and saw the coyote sitting there, tongue out and tail wagging. “Why did you bring me here,” I ask. My head began to feel hot and my chest felt heavy. Vertigo overtook my body. I was on the floor. I couldn’t move. I had passed out.

I woke up and checked my phone. A few hours had passed. The coyote was still sitting just a few feet away from me, tongue out and tail wagging, but the door to the shed was closed. A light no longer illuminated from between the cracks of the door. Without thinking, I back up and use all my weight to push my shoulder into the door. After a couple of tries, the door give way and flies open. I reach for the light switch and turn on the lights. There is no blood. Not even a single drop. I inspect closer to see if I can find something, but there is nothing. Just the pie with a single piece taken out and the plate with the crumbs and fork next to it.

I step out of the shed confused as can be to see the coyote still sitting there, and the nameless recluse casting a devious smile to me from the porch. I couldn’t do anything but run, as if my legs had instincts of their own. I ran all the way home. I was up all night trying to decide whether that had been a delusion or reality. It haunted my dreams the following night. I couldn’t even bring myself to call the police, mostly because there was absolutely no proof of anything. I couldn’t even tell my bestfriend Jeremy because he would think I was crazy.

The day after that, Jeremy told me he couldn’t hang out after school. I was bored and still looking for excitement, so I decided to take one of my weekend walks during the week. As I rounded the corner of the end of the next block over, I caught a glimpse of Jeremy shutting the door behind him as he stepped into the house of the nameless recluse, and a single tear ran down my cheek.

  • Puddin Tane

    “Another one bites the dust, another one bites the dust. And another one gone, and another one gone. Another one bites the dust. Gonna get you, too. Yeah! Another one bites the dust.”